This is a different curry for sure but there’s more to this post than the food. Roz Ka Khana has a new contributor – that’s what’s refreshingly different. Introducing Sumathi Vaidyanathan – a veteran journalist and editor who’s worked for some high profile publications and most importantly an amazing cook. Years of travel and experiments with various global cuisines have led to some choice creations in her kitchen, and I have been lucky to taste many of them. Did I mention she also happens to be my aunt?
RKK presents “Sumathi’s Medley”, a special collection of recipes chosen, created and written by Sumathi. Here’s the first from her collection – Mango Pullisery.
It’s the tail end of the South Asian mango season and I’m loading up on the fruit, using it every way I know how.
And so the other day I ended up making a pulissery, a sweet, hot, sour concoction that I first tasted as a young girl in India, at the home of a friend from Kerala.
“Puli” is sour in Malayalam and pulissery loosely translates as “sour curry.”
Pulissery can also be made with ripe plantains and pineapple but in my view, ripe mangoes are the best. Their velvety sweetness coated in a tangy yoghurt sauce flecked with chilli and coconut is bliss on the tongue.
You can use any firm fleshed mango to make this dish. In Kerala, the mango of choice is the Chandrakaran. A friend of mine prefers to use the smallest mangoes she can find – she peels the fruit and cooks it whole, seed and all. The end result is delicious but only if you are used to eating the mango South Asian style, with your hands. If this is asking too much of your family and/or your guests, go the genteel way and cube the mangoes.
I used the Chaunsa and the Anwar Ratol from Pakistan, which shows up in the Singapore markets in the latter half of July. I love the Anwar Ratol; it is one of my favourites along with the Alphonso but the flesh does tend to be a bit spongy so if you’re cooking with it, expect the pieces to lose some of their shape.
The traditional pulissery is a hearty dish with lots of coconut and is meant to be eaten with rice. The version below is lighter and is a good addition to a buffet spread. I like to serve it in small individual bowls so it is easier to eat on its own.
Serves 4 to 6
2 ripe mangoes
A pinch of turmeric powder
½-1 tsp salt
3 green chillies
4-5 tbsps plain sour yogurt
1 tablespoon grated coconut
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 red chillies
3-4 curry leaves
Wash, peel, and cube the mangoes. You should end up with about a cup of cubed mangoes.
Soak the mango seeds and skin in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. Use your hands to strip the flesh off both until seeds and skin are clean and discard them. If you have a lot of mango fibers in the water, run the liquid through a blender or strain it.
Put the mango cubes and water in a saucepan with the salt, green chillies, and turmeric. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes until the mango pieces are just soft. If the mango isn’t sweet enough, add a teaspoon or two of sugar.
Make a paste of the green chillies, coconut, and cumin seeds in a blender or in a mortar and pestle.
Whisk the yoghurt until it is smooth and add the paste to it. Mix thoroughly.
Add the yoghurt-coconut mixture to the mangoes in the saucepan, stirring constantly. It is important to lower the flame while you do this so that the yoghurt does not curdle. Bring the curry to a near boil and switch off the flame.
Heat the oil to smoking point in a small frying pan. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to pop.
Add the dry red chillies and the curry leaves and switch off the flame.
Pour the oil mixture on top of the curry and serve.